€300,000 up for grabs in this year’s Seedcorn competition

18 Apr 2023

From left: NUA Surgical co-founder Marie-Therese Maher and Seedcorn programme manager Connor Sweeney. Image: InterTradeIreland

More than 2,700 companies have participated in the Seedcorn competition since its inception in 2003.

Start-up founders are being encouraged to enter the InterTradeIreland Seedcorn Investor Readiness Competition, with an opportunity to win a top prize of €100,000.

A €300,000 prize fund has been allocated to this year’s competition, which will see entrants receive expert feedback on their business plans and pitches, along with exposure to real life investors.

The purpose of the Seedcorn competition is to help ambitious start-ups and early-stage businesses become investor ready. A €20,000 prize is also up for grabs for best investment proposal in the sustainability and low carbon sector.

Connor Sweeney, InterTradeIreland’s Seedcorn programme manager, said the competition has been part of “some of the greatest start-up success stories on this island”. He also said he looks forward to seeing “the best talent on offer” for this year’s competition.

“Seedcorn gets high-potential start-ups in front of experts to refine their business plans, develop their pitching skills and learning how to attract investment and raise equity,” Sweeney said.

“Investors know there is a pool of talent here, and they are ready to invest. Seedcorn helps new start and early-stage companies get ready for investment and unleash their potential.

Since its inception in 2003, more than 2,700 companies have benefitted from entering the competition, with previous winners coming from across the island of Ireland.

One previous participant in Seedcorn is Galway’s NUA Surgical which received €100,000 after being named the overall winner in 2020.

The company, recently featured in SiliconRepublic.com’s list of start-ups to watch out for this year, has developed surgical solutions to make C-sections – one of the world’s most common surgeries – safer and easier.

NUA Surgical co-founder Marie-Therese Maher credited the Seedcorn competition with helping to make the start-up investor ready.

“Seedcorn was an incredible journey for us and an important stepping stone in developing our business plan and defining our value proposition,” Maher said. “We came out of the process knowing we were ready for investors, and ready to really make a difference in women’s health.”

Companies interested in taking part in this year’s Seedcorn competition can apply here before the closing date for entries at 1pm on 28 April.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic